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Thinking In Bets: How to Become Comfortable With Uncertainty (Ep. 18)

Life is more like poker than chess.

At least, that’s the thesis of the book we’re talking about this week, Thinking in Bets, by Annie Duke. In chess, your moves are limited by skill and concrete rules, but in poker, as in life, there’s a lot of missing information. What cards do the other players hold? How likely are they to bluff? Are you winning because you’re good, or because you’re lucky and on the verge of crashing?

A lot of decisions in life require you to choose before you have all of the relevant information. In fact, you often simply can’t get all of the relevant information, ever. So to make any choice at all, you must become comfortable with uncertainty.

If any of you would like to read along with us, this episode is only over the first 80 pages or so. If you start now, you might be able to finish before we put out the next episode on the rest of the book.

Things mentioned in this episode:

This week’s episode is sponsored by:

  • Brilliant: Accelerate your learning in math, science, and computer science. Start learning for free at — and if you’re one of the first 200 people to use this link, you’ll also get 20% off your subscription.

Other things we mentioned in this episode:

Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.


  • 0:00:00 – Intro
  • 0:05:15 – Not having perfect information
  • 0:27:10 – Sponsor: Brilliant (Learning problem-solving skills)
  • 0:29:04 – Separating quality of decision from quality of outcome
  • 0:41:08 – Figuring out how much information you need
  • 1:07:41 – Debating without getting into a heated argument
  • 1:11:15 – Should you buy an e-bike
  • 1:17:56 – Conclusion

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